We’ve found that consumers who rely on cash are struggling to pay for essential products and services during the coronavirus pandemic. Have you been affected?
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the way we live our lives, including how we bank and pay for things.
Those who can are swapping cash for digital or contactless payments and opting for internet banking and online shopping over a visit to their bank branch or supermarket.
However, our latest research shows that for many, cash is more important than ever.
Paying with cash
More than half of those we surveyed who are looking after the finances or groceries for someone else had been paid in cash, while out of those ordering food for someone outside their household, 32% have paid for it in cash.
In addition, 29% have ordered groceries for someone online, and then been paid for it with cash.
Worryingly, we’ve found that many people have struggled to take out cash during the pandemic and even amongst those who have managed to withdraw cash, a large number have been unable to use it when shopping.
One in 10 people were refused by shops when trying to pay for items with cash.
What’s worse, a quarter of those were unable to purchase the item in question as they had no alternative way of paying.
This is particularly worrying as only shops selling essential items have been allowed to open during lockdown.
Legislation must be brought forward
While the Chancellor pledged to protect cash access in March in light of our warnings that cash as we know it could disappear within two years, the system is at risk of collapsing in months if action isn’t taken now.
We are calling on the Government to bring forward the announced legislation protecting access to cash as a matter of urgency.
Without this, millions of cash-dependent consumers are at risk of becoming excluded, with no way of paying for essential goods and services.
It’s unacceptable that consumers have been unable to use cash during this crisis; especially as so many don’t have access to any viable alternative ways of paying. That’s why we’re also asking the government to take all necessary steps to ensure people can continue to safely pay with cash for essential goods during the pandemic.
Finally, we want the FCA to gather and publish information about measures banks have put in place to provide access or alternatives to cash and banking services, to ensure this support is reaching the people who need it most – after our research found low levels of awareness and uptake of the services on offer.
As our society becomes increasingly digital, it’s vital to make sure alternative payment methods are suitable for the long-term.
Have you found yourself more dependent on cash as a result of COVID-19, or had difficulties withdrawing or using cash during lockdown?
Have you used some of the services banks have introduced since coronavirus measures were introduced?
If so, get in contact in the comments and let us know what you’ve seen.